Shakespeare and Contemporary Theory

Rethinking approaches to Shakespeare and early modern literature for the 21st century

Shakespeare’s History Plays: Rethinking Historicism now available on Open Access

My first book, Shakespeare’s History Plays: Rethinking Historicism (2012), is now available through Open Access:

I’ve always liked the front cover of this one. It’s a sketch of the skull of Richard II made in 1871. I’d love to say there’s some deeper meaning behind it, but in all honesty, I just thought it looked cool. Hopefully this book will still be of use to anyone working on the histories, or on challenging the assumptions of new historicism and cultural materialism.

Shakespeare and Contemporary Theory #34: Shakespeare and Trump with Jeffrey R. Wilson

Neema welcomes Jeffrey R. Wilson (Harvard) to discuss the election of Donald Trump, its impact on the intellectual climate, and some of the ways in which Shakespeare was used in the coverage of the US election. Wilson’s essay, “Public Shakespeareanism: The Bard in the 2016 American Presidential Election,” is available upon request from the author; email The instances of “public Shakespeareanism” discussed in the essay and the podcast include:

Andrew Cutrofello, “Shakespeare and Trump: What’s in a Name?” (December 15, 2015),

Brian Leiter, “Shakespeare on Trump: Money Made the Man,” The Huffington Post (Feb 29, 2016),

Charles McNulty, “The Theater of Trump: What Shakespeare can teach us about the Donald,” Los Angeles Times (May 26, 2016),

Paul Hamilton, “Trumping Shakespeare: Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and the Rise of the Clown Politician,” Kingston Shakespeare Seminar (July 11, 2016),

Peter C. Herman, “Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth,’ Donald Trump, and the Republican Party,” Times of San Diego (Aug. 7, 2016),

Stephen Greenblatt, “Shakespeare Explains the 2016 Election,” New York Times Sunday Review (Oct. 8, 2016),

Shakespeare and Contemporary Theory #32: Interview with Stephen Greenblatt

Ahead of the publication of his forthcoming book Shakespeare and New Historicist Theory (for the Arden Shakespeare and Theory series), Neema interviews new historicism’s most influential exponent, Stephen Greenblatt (Harvard). Topics include the cultural and political moment of the late 1960s, Louis Althusser, the genesis of new historicism, how and why Shakespeare has endured across history, and, yes, Donald Trump.

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